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Built in wardrobe design feedback (newbie)

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shawesome

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Hi all,

I've designed a set of cabinets to go into a built in wardrobe, I've never done something like this before (but I have watched lots of youtube) so I'd really appreciate your feedback and criticism of it to see if I can't make it better/viable. Mostly, I'd be interested to know if it's strong enough as one of the carcasses doesn't have a side, which is my main concern. I'm going to go through everything because I'm not 100% I've designed something that'll work. Also apologies if my terminology isn't correct, as might be obvious I don't really know what I'm talking about.

The Design
Here is the design itself. The whole thing is varying thicknesses of MR MDF. It's two carcasses on top of plinths in an L shape. The left hand carcass has drawers at the bottom and a rail at the top. We've got some shorter hanging items and some longer items so the idea is the shorter stuff can hang over the drawers and the longer stuff can fall into the void. The right hand carcass has two sets of drawers and a larger storage area where baskets or something will go above it. I also wanted to add this as I hope it'll add some strength and structure to the carcass and it is missing it's left hand side. A quick note on the colours, they are just to show material thicknesses where green is 18mm, blue is 12mm and pink is 6mm.

1641373426156.png


The space

The space it's fitting into looks something like this:
1641375379426.png


It is about 1180mm wide, 1630mm deep and 1950mm high at the lowest point and 2300mm high at the highest point. There is a 15mm skirting board going all the way around the room.

Plinths

I must confess I don't know much about these, they are often in cabinet builds that I watch but they are often quickly glossed over. Perhaps because they are straight forward? Regardless I'm planning on making these out of PAR softwood and butting them up to the skirting boards on each side. I'll level them up somehow here too. The spacings of the span pieces won't be exactly as they are here, I got lazy in the design I'll do some more thinking and try to place them underneath the points where the vertical pieces of the carcass go and then space a few more around where it looks equal.

1641375519873.png


Carcasses


This is the biggest unknown for me. I've planned to make two of them arranged like this:

1641377070611.png


The obvious point of concern is the fact the right hand carcass has no left hand vertical board. There is going to be some support in the middle (see below) but still I wouldn't want that top piece to sag. I've tried to compensate but have an 18mm back panel and would plan to join these two with biscuits and glue. I was also thinking perhaps I could get some metal brackets at the top of the two carcasses and fix them together like that also.

Drawers

All three sets of drawers are similar, just one set (the left one) is larger.

1641376411874.png


The carcass is (hopefully) simple, it's just a box made from 18mm mdf with a top on it to hide the top parts. There's a 6mm piece just stapled on the back. The depth of the carcass is 460mm as I'm planning on using 450mm drawer runners and I wanted to have enough wiggle room there to get it wrong.

The drawers themselves will be more complicated (for me):

1641376583995.png

1641376610845.png


The front and back are 18mm mdf and the sides and bottom are 12mm. There will be a rebate towards the bottom of the drawer to accept the bottom panel with enough room to fit an undermount drawer slide.

The drawer front will look like this:

1641376634548.png


I've planned to make it a faker shaker where I'll glue and pin 6mm rails and stiles to a 12mm board. I have no idea how thick these should be, is there some sort of rule of thumb?

Bookcase thing

I definitely got lazy here, apologies. I'll put a 6mm back on it and also I'll probably rebate the shelves into the sides for more strength.

1641377382467.png


All together

Here it is all together in the space:

1641377524762.png


If you've got this far, thank you so much for reading. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to improve this and any challenges I might face on the way and how to address them.
 

TheTiddles

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Quick thoughts….
That plinth looks like a tad overkill, even for me.
The gap in the corner, is that going to get just filled with mess? Hard to do much with it admittedly.
Presuming it’ll be fixed to the wall or it’s not got enough structure to stop it being very wobbly, a face frame would help that but it might be tricky to do with your layout.
6mm onto 12mm panel effect is very “heavy”, 3mm is more common and gives you less edge to paint neatly, though 3mm isn’t available in MRMDF standard works fine at least with a decent brand.

Have you thought about… given it’s a small room just putting the drawer units in and putting shelves directly on the walls and rails etc? It will save a lot of material, even if you had to re-plaster it to get it smart, some spotlights in the ceiling and you have a more open and lighter space.
 

shawesome

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Thanks @TheTiddles, let me dig into those:

That plinth looks like a tad overkill, even for me.
I've no doubt you're right! As I mentioned I don't fully understand what a plinth is meant to do except for giving you a decent level to work off. How would you recommend making it more appropriate?

The gap in the corner, is that going to get just filled with mess? Hard to do much with it admittedly.
Again, you're probably right - but my wife wants enough space for some long items of clothing and this was the best way I could think of to achieve that whilst maximising the space.

Presuming it’ll be fixed to the wall or it’s not got enough structure to stop it being very wobbly, a face frame would help that but it might be tricky to do with your layout.
Absolutely. I'll find some studs and fix it to those, or failing that I'll use some plasterboard fixings. I thought of a face frame too, but came to a similar conclusion. Perhaps some PAR softwood lipping, the same thickness as the carcass all the way around? Could help to add a little structure to it maybe.

6mm onto 12mm panel effect is very “heavy”, 3mm is more common and gives you less edge to paint neatly, though 3mm isn’t available in MRMDF standard works fine at least with a decent brand.
I assume you are referring to the drawer fronts? If so sounds good. I'm all for making it easier. I can use some standard MDF for that.

Have you thought about… given it’s a small room just putting the drawer units in and putting shelves directly on the walls and rails etc? It will save a lot of material, even if you had to re-plaster it to get it smart, some spotlights in the ceiling and you have a more open and lighter space.
It's a good idea and was the first way I tried to work it. But in the end I'd opted against it because I wasn't sure I'd be able to get good fixings as it's all studwork and plasterboard. That, and I'm looking for an excuse to build a proper cabinet, as I'm really interested in it and I've got others I'll need to build in much more visible places so it's a good chance to practice.
 

southendwoodworker

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I am not an expert, I am learning this type of stuff myself. But I have a few ideas.

Firstly, what is the black circle on the back wall? Im assuming a window

I agree with thetiddles on his ideas, in particular with having just individual drawer units, shelf unit, and then rails attached to the walls to hold the clothes

The void you have will collect dust and grot in time. There are corner drawer systems, often seen in kitchens, that could be used. But given the tight space you have they might not work well.

Anyway if you wish to progress with building something have a look at this idea: https://www.therange.co.uk/furniture/2-door-wardrobes/osaka-oak-2-door-corner-wardrobe

But in your situation, you could have all of the drawers stacked on each other on the left hand side, and a floor to top shelving on the right - or some combination of half shelves and three drawers. This would mean you wouldnt end up with the void in the back corner.

As you said the roof will be a problem, putting a face frame and maybe putting a support (hidden behind a face frame) that goes along the top wall to wall on the left hand side, then have the un supported roof on the right hand attach to it

Another option, is that you have alot of unused space in the room, to the right when you walk in. If you use that space you could end up with an extra rail to hang clothes off
 
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shawesome

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Thanks for your thoughts @southendwoodworker,

I agree with thetiddles on his ideas, in particular with having just individual drawer units, shelf unit, and then rails attached to the walls to hold the clothes
Despite what I've said above, another vote for this probably means I'm overcomplicating it. Thanks for the feedback, I'll do some more thinking :)

The void you have will collect dust and grot in time. There are corner drawer systems, often seen in kitchens, that could be used. But given the tight space you have they might not work well.

Anyway if you wish to progress with building something have a look at this idea: https://www.therange.co.uk/furniture/2-door-wardrobes/osaka-oak-2-door-corner-wardrobe

But in your situation, you could have all of the drawers stacked on each other on the left hand side, and a floor to top shelving on the right - or some combination of half shelves and three drawers. This would mean you wouldnt end up with the void in the back corner.
That's a really good suggestion, I could see something like that working for me.
 

southendwoodworker

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What is good about thetiddles solution is that it is simple (of drawers directly on ground, seperate shelf unit, rails off walls), and allows flexibility around changing things in the future very easily.

Having a roof over it does allow you to store stuff on top of it which can be useful. however obviously but it wouldnt be good to store stuff above the unsupported window area. it would also make the room a darker having the roof above the window

You could however have wall mounted roof/shelf above the rails on the left and right, but not above the window, which could be used for further storage
 

TheTiddles

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Mounting to stud walls can be done neatly, if you use a strip of wood onto the wall you can pick up the studs and then mount the shelf to the strips, you then need to scribe the shelf, but it’s not hard and an important skill to have. Same can be done for the rail.

Drawer boxes in ply would be better and easier, but slightly more expensive
 

BucksDad

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Have you seen the IKEA PAX corner wardrobe design? I would copy that as it much better optimises the space in my opinion. Your current design has drawers that will foul each other and as much as you might think that we only open one drawer at a time, it's often handy to do it when picking an outfit or returning clean clothes.

PAX Corner wardrobe, white, 210/160x201 cm - IKEA

We have PAX wardrobes and I love all the storage options it gives - if you can build some of the units to match the widths then it might give you some nice easy options for baskets or other organisers.

I totally get building it yourself though - for one IKEA have supply chain issues, you can maximise the space and you can choose exactly the colours you want and use better hardware. The draw runners on the PAX are not very nice and it does feel 'cheap'. However, it is very hard to better IKEA's design optimisations for storage
 

shawesome

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Here's an update of what I'm thinking of now, thank you all for your input (especially @TheTiddles and @southendwoodworker ).

1641392573221.png


1641392608491.png


All the units are slightly off the wall to accommodate a strip of wood to allow fixings. I went for 25x100 for no real reason, is there a better size? I've also left the left hand unit without anything above it so that in time I could add something there if I wanted. Maybe even another bookshelf thing or shelves. The drawers will also not foul each other any more (thanks @BucksDad). Also, I'll make the drawer boxes from (birch?) plywood instead.

I may add some shelves or a second rail at some point as I see merit to that but I'm quite happy with this as a starting point.
 

TheTiddles

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Now that looks a whole lot cheaper! Add a plinth under each unit, a face frame could be scribed to the wall if you wanted to do that too.
 

Jones

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You will need to raise the bottom drawer 50 mm+ off the floor so it can open, by putting the unit on a plinth or just having a filler piece.
 

baldkev

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Premade with blum soft close runners...... easy kit to put together, 155mm high drawer sides
 

Designer1

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Not sure if you've already finalised a design or not, I'll add some information anyway.

When I've done wardrobe units in the past I've used adjustable 100MM cabinet feet, purely because it takes account of any bulges in the floor, they're useful to adjust too if you're trying to install cabinets level on an uneven floor.

A pack of 4 from ironmongery direct is about £5 or so. Just my preference though, I have used plinths in the past and they were also ok, much more solid surface to put the kick board up against on a plinth. But if you're not giving it a fair old kick anytime soon the filler clips and adjustable feet are just fine.

For drawer front edges, edge banding works wonders, a simple iron and blade and you're away. It can be smoothed off with filler though, or just layers of primer, sanding and commitment.

IMO on the left hand side of that tall cabinet I'd put an end panel to tidy it up, it'll really neaten the job up. If you really wanted to you could put a face frame on the bookcase that covers the end panel but again it is your choice.

Not sure if you've decided on knobs or not but ironmongery direct do some good ones, or even Buster and Punch (Furniture Knobs Archives).

Hope this helps.
 

shawesome

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Thanks for the feedback @Designer1, interesting comment on the plinths vs feet. I'll give it some thought.

IMO on the left hand side of that tall cabinet I'd put an end panel to tidy it up, it'll really neaten the job up. If you really wanted to you could put a face frame on the bookcase that covers the end panel but again it is your choice.
This is a good idea, would it basically go from the top of the bookcase to the bottom of the drawers? Or have I misunderstood?
 

TomGW

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If you put the open shelf unit on top of the other drawer unit you would have the option of extended hanging space, albeit for shorter items. I’m just thinking that your hanging space is too limited.
 

Designer1

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Thanks for the feedback @Designer1, interesting comment on the plinths vs feet. I'll give it some thought.



This is a good idea, would it basically go from the top of the bookcase to the bottom of the drawers? Or have I misunderstood?
Top of bookcase to bottom yes, it basically just cover the front of the end panel
 
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